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Seriously Smart or Seriously Dumb? Antidote to an over emotional fan-base

Written by MentalAndBookmarked

 

Was it a success? Well no, of course not. We didn’t get him. Southampton, by shopping the club into the FA for tapping up Virgil Van Dijk, stopped us in our tracks while we were stage managing the machinations of purchasing the lofty Dutch defender.

Southampton dropped us in the shit and thereby took back control of a situation that had been entirely outside their control up to that point as we primed the press as often as humanly possible with multiple accounts of rapid progress on making Anfield the only possible destination for the Dutch defender.

Traditionally, the lesser team caves under the onslaught and momentum created and is led to the lawyers’ table to pen the deal that has been concluded in all but name in the press. The smaller team is unceremoniously stripped of a valuable asset but given a decent sized sack of gold to drown their sorrows and tend to their wounds.

Of course that didn’t happen. Southampton reported liverpool football club to the FA for tapping up and prevented the script from playing out. Liverpool’s statement may have been a climb down, an embarrassment, a desperate attempt to avoid further censure from an FA that has been gleefully banning PL clubs from youth recruitment in recent times. You must decide for yourself of its significance but the reality like it or not is it means very little. Nothing was admitted to, no loss or damage, it was simply a balm used to sooth an inflammation even if it appeared to put an end to the chase for a fine and expensive but not totally proven defender.

Of course yesterday’s news and indeed the statement are little more than today’s fish and chip paper – and FSG know this. No one of any significance cares. If it suits both parties (and the player) the clubs will resume negotiations perhaps tomorrow, perhaps in a few weeks (perhaps never!). It’s business, if you took it personally then you’re in the wrong game. It’s not personal, it’s just business.

But while the public nature of the discourse was almost certain to have offended the Saints’ sensibilities, the truth is Southampton don’t really care about tapping up. They did it themselves in their chase for Van Dijk two years ago when Celtic threatened to sue them. They have just been called out by Porto for tapping up Iker Casillas. Tapping up is a tool of the trade that they use as exhaustively as anyone else. Why the FA tolerate the hypocrisy is well, just typical of the FA.

Southampton just wanted to get some semblance of control on the situation. And herein lies the nub of the matter. Liverpool’s recruitment team under Michael Edwards and the PR team took total control of the path of this venture. Having had their approaches spurned earlier in the spring Liverpool sought to create a fait accomplit for acquiring the defender before even approaching the impressively over achieving South Coast club to formalise the purchase.

They courted Van Dijk to the extent that he remarkably and publicly was said to have declared loyalty to the Klopp revolution over and above that of either Pep Guardiola at Manchester City or title winning Antonio Conte at Chelsea despite being 1 year into a 6 year contract with his South Coast employers.

There were continuous and coordinated briefings to the friendly press by the Anfield outfit creating a momentum that was both spectacular and seemingly impossible to stop. To carry the affair this far and kick the oil rich Citeh and Chelsea clubs into touch in the process BEFORE they had even spoken to Southampton is both fiendishly brilliant if Machiavellian and impressively determined especially when it would require the club to smash its transfer record and indeed the world record transfer fee for a defender rather than the low and mid cost signings the fan-base has become more accustomed to over recent years as the club tried endlessly to curtail recent annual losses.

Of course it didn’t work out, not yet at any rate. And perhaps the decision to feed the press with all and every detail of progress was unwise and the cause of the ultimate failure – and it remains unclear if that was the strategy of Michael Edwards or the PR team attempting to copy the machinations in the press so common to giants of the game such as Real Madrid or Barcelona.

Perhaps similarly machiavellian manouverings that kept the story out of the press wouldn’t have pushed the South Coast club into lodging its complaint to the FA. and we’d be enjoying a more fruitful if expensive outcome right now.
Nevertheless it cannot be denied that the recruitment team attempted an impressive strategy that very nearly led to a masterful coup in a notoriously difficult transfer market – and might do so yet.

So, was the recruitment team seriously smart or seriously dumb? Plant your flag dear reader, with the North or with the South, the judgement is yours to make. Fumers should take a pause for the cause.

mm
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  • MentalAndBookmarked

    And now Juve have had to apologise to Lazio. So it goes, just without the hysteria that gets attached to our club.

  • OldFlaky

    You think you got a case of VVD, STI or STD?…don”t let it infect you…be smart, stay out…ooh yeah…

  • easternred

    In other news James Comey testifies……oh wait that is not relevant here.
    Ramiy Abbas, Salah’s agent that is hinting that we are waiting too long to sign his client, ain’t that surprising! We never do that, do we? Wonder what he is smoking.

    • MentalAndBookmarked

      I don’t even want to think how Trump would have handled this one publicly.

  • OldFlaky

    He sure is no pokerplayer, he should have been ice-cold talking with media or whoever…that blew the whole thing…

  • herrdoktorprofessor

    While I appreciate the effort here Mental

    I’m not buying the central premise of this article: that LFC orchestrated some massive months long media campaign as a tool to ward off city and chelski.

    The reason I’m not buying it is because it’s ridiculously naive. As if clubs with such deep pockets and nefarious transfer histories would be put off of their target just because there were vague media reports that a player might prefer another club. Hell Willian flew into london to finalize a deal with tottenham and that didn’t keep chelski from continuing to pursue him and sign him away from Spurs. Hell Willian even got Spurs to pay for his fucking taxi across town to ink his deal at the bridge.

    Do I believe we tapped up VVD? Yes all clubs do it. Do I believe we most likely let it leak out late last week that VVD had basically agreed terms snubbing city and Chelsea? maybe. it could also very well have been his agent. I’m sure it was then that city and chelski confirmed with VVD’s camp that he was really committed to LFC. At that point they backed off and Southampton lost their shit because no bidding war to drive up the price.

    • MentalAndBookmarked

      well, that’s the point. Citeh and Chavs got the message that VVD wanted us – our work was instrumental in getting there and we succeeded, they backed off for one reason or another but this would have been critical.

      Based on their ENTIRE PL history, you would have thought that at £50m Southampton would have done the deal rather than shopped us into the FA. It just so happens that this time the price was £75m – which would have certainly got the deal done, no FA charge, no agro. We backed off – which led Southampton to make the FA charge – basically because while we were prepared to pay £50m, we weren’t prepared to pay any price.

      The problem wasn’t the publicity or the tapping up, it was ultimately the price that Southampton set and we weren’t willing to meet it. Even now Southampton are saying an eye watering offer would do the deal.

      • herrdoktorprofessor

        they backed off once it was clear we would match their wage offers and it would come down to VVD’s own preferences. I don’t think it took an elaborate media campaign to achieve that. VVD’s agent picks up the phone and gives them a call to try and squeeze even more out of them and they squeal

        • MentalAndBookmarked

          What it took was NOT having the discussion via southampton. It was all done before getting to what southampton might want to dictate / playing the teams off against each other.
          That was critical otherwise we may well have been pushed out of the whole thing depending on what Southampton chose to tell us.

          • herrdoktorprofessor

            yes that was my point.

          • MentalAndBookmarked

            oh, my bad!

  • Timp

    Nice ‘devils advocate piece’, I really enjoy that fellow posters get their own articles featured. Dare I say that the standards are as good if not better than the ‘Admin’.

    I am firmly in the camp that thinks Michael Edwards tried to be too clever for his own good. My view is that Edwards and his team targeted a concerted campaign to corner Van Dyke and snare him. They leaked these actions to the press to drive the price down. VVD wanted to come to Liverpool and this made other teams lose interest. This meant that there would be no auction, ergo a lower price would have been negotiated.

    Edwards new to the position wanted to show how clever he was. Machiavellian, no for me more Big Mac!!

    • MentalAndBookmarked

      ha ha, probably Big ‘Ed too!

      I’m not sure what to think of a world where the price is “driven down” to a mere £50m ! Clearly that number wasn’t enough for the Saints otherwise discussions would have ensued rather than what transpired.

      Their local rag floated the £75m number so despite removing the competition the price was never going to be acceptable to us, or anyone else as it turns out. The benefits of a 6 year contract – what was the agent smoking!

      But in terms of damning evidence to drop us in the shit, newspapers aren’t particularly reliable. However Klopp having ice creams with Van Dijk on Blackpool Pier is likely to be the real problem not to mention the text messaging between manager and player. Like wtf Jurgen? Re-learn what the term clandestine means. Like wtf Jurgen?

  • anonymous98345

    Great piece by the way.

    • MentalAndBookmarked

      cheers man.

  • Riiseandshine

    steven caulker is available on loan…..

    • MentalAndBookmarked

      how should we handle the PR?

      • Riiseandshine

        he chose us over Burton Albion and FSG we’re happy to back Jurgen…

        • MentalAndBookmarked

          get it over to James Pearce, pronto!

          • Riiseandshine

            He just slithered in the door 🐍

  • anonymous98345

    I don’t have a great memory, but this isn’t how we did business last summer transfer window, is it? I seem to remember that the club kept things more under the radar, less leaking to the press and just got shit done. Maybe it didn’t work that way. Any thoughts on the comparison of last summer and this?

    • MentalAndBookmarked

      I think this time around we’re going for really good players at very good clubs who are doing extremely well in their leagues (Leverkusen is the exception but Brandt is very young and looking to ensure he goes to Russia next summer with the national team).

      Roma, Leipzig – 2nd in their leagues. CL group stages in the bag, it’s really only money that will convince them and the clubs’ willing to release them and possibly the lure of Klopp. Hence Southampton will possibly deal but only at £75m as per their local rag, Leipzig have no need for money and have developed this team over the last 3 years.

      It’s only Roma who are in big doo-doo with FFP and need a stack of cash before the end of the month. They will certainly sell but are trying to avoid selling more than one player. Hence they want a bucket full for Salah and a massive chunk up front ie not spread over 5years. They will fail and hopefully we will get Salah in a couple of weeks.

      If the reports surrounding Draxler are true re the January chase, his wages were said to be £100K pw doubling after a year at PSG. Klopp wasn’t interested in bargaining on wages.

      Atletico (and spain and portugal) take advantage of easier visa rules than the UK and so have regularly brought in players from around the world often on third party ownership deals.

      So the models for success we have to potentially follow are oil clubs, Utd, Arsenal & Spurs and what we’re doing right now. Arsenal & Spurs haven’t actually won much either.

      • anonymous98345

        I don’t take any issue with what you’ve said, I think I was probably not exactly being clear. I agree that we seem to be target a higher level of player from top clubs, and that’s fine.
        My problem is the way we are conducting business. I seem to remember last summer the club had less rumours (that came from the club) and more press driven ones. This summer the club gave a lot of juicy tidbits to the echo, Melissa reddy, Paul Joyce, etc and the club just kept blabbing. Maybe I am making a mountain out of a mole hill, but I am not sure why the club can’t running a tighter ship. Maybe it usually doesn’t matter how much you blab to the press but in the vvd case it did.
        I follow the rumours like everyone else but I try not to judge the club on them, and judge the club on what they do and not the crap in the tabloids. I know clubs tap each other’s players all the time, but if our club didnt start bragging to the press maybe we would have not lost out on the player. Just feels like the club was cocky about how the transfer window was going to go, before any deals were made. Cart before the horse and all that. Maybe I am wrong, I’ve followed the story only for so long, and haven’t followed every single detail because it’s pretty boring actually and the bottom line is the club didn’t get a deal done.

        I hope the club has a few target cbs in mind and get a deal done quietly. I guess I am naive but why can’t we just release info when the deal is done and leave the fans in the dark in the mean time?

        • MentalAndBookmarked

          Well, yes the Saints got upset by the press stuff but what would have got us shopped in to the FA was the meeting with Klopp not being discreet enough which is pretty brain dead of us, newspaper stuff isn’t going to stick with any kind of FA charge. And then the texts and video clips stuff, I mean, wtf Jurgen? Jeez guys, get a hotel room and get it sorted out on the quiet, send stuff from the agent’s phone or something, but I think it shows that everyone does it and no one really gets particularly worked up about it.

          In this case Southampton decided to be jerks about the whole thing because £50m clearly wasn’t enough in their minds. If it were they would have taken the money and not been bothered with shopping us in. In this case had we handed over £75m they would have said thank you very much and there wouldn’t have been any of this crap. That’s why I say, it’s just business.

          As for the early releases of target information, that’s just basic PR. You don’t leave a vacuum because the negative nellies will fill it. A big chunk of the vocal fanbase hate FSG and just can’t wait to pile in on them – greedy tight fisted yanks, in it for the money, bleeding the club, no ambition etc. So by feeding the press it removes that narrative if we’re going for high calibre [and expensive] targets.
          What comes later? In PR, you don’t worry about that up front, you deal with that when you get to that point. At £50m you would certainly have expected Southampton to do business based on their PL history, and all would have been good. It’s just PR 101 but in this case the sale didn’t go through.

          Where the fanbase is unreasonable is slamming the club for not just getting deals done in 1 day [to give them their thrill/fix] – you hear about it and then according to them it should be immediately done. That generally happens only when you just pay the asking price which there’s just no need to do, especially when the window isn’t even open. And often it’s the selling club/agent that benefits from leaking in that case to get that all important bidding war.

          We seem to be making sure the player wants to come to us before it gets leaked (or very closely timed) so we know we’re not wasting time and it also broadcasts to other clubs that they’re going to have a tough time nicking the player – that worked very well in the VVD case and is a marked difference to previous years when we tried to say nothing but it was publicly known we were going for someone. That was a negative because in the absence of information, folks would complain about the hold up. Now what’s discussed is the fact that we’ve agreed terms/wages – again it fills the vacuum to keep the negative nellies at bay given they’re so corrosive within the fanbase/internet.

          So I don’t think they’re just blurting this stuff out randomly, they’ve made deliberate decisions about how to do things and for what purpose and as you say, it’s different to before. Of course some now complain because “we never used to hear until it’s done”. It’s not true, we always knew we were chasing players and the moans were about the delay. Now we know what stage we’re at and it’s about the price and the selling club – sure folks can moan but it’s harder to credibly get away with making stuff up which is what people [negative nellies] did before.

          Salah and De Vries have special contract situations where their clubs stand to lose big time so there’s a high chance of them being completed and the publicity has been an important part of it. That will be smart work if it happens.
          The others like Sporting and Liepzig we’ll have to see.

          • anonymous98345

            Appreciate the detailed explanation. It is quite the difficult balance with the pr, the fans, the press, let alone the transfer market. Your point about making sure the player wants to play for us is spot on, and clearly shows Klopp has pull (even if we don’t get vvd).
            i take your point about Southampton using this ploy as just a business tactic. The hypocrisy of it reeks, but maybe this is only way to give some leverage to the smaller clubs? Why does the FA allow so much of this, and rule so arbitrarily about which teams broke the rules, when they are doing it all the time? I guess that is just the FA for you.
            the tapping up and the window dates and all the other rules, I am a stickler for rules and wished teams followed them, but that isn’t going to happen. Agents, players, clubs are always going to find away the round the rules. I wonder if it transfer market would be made better or worse if there was no window at all? So that teams could buy/sell all year long? By better I mean more clearly defined rules, less shadiness with tapping up and all the other shenanigans, maybe it would just happen all year long. I was just thinking that a year long window would allow clubs more flexibility with their finances and I don’t think it would necessarily advantage big clubs over smaller ones or vice versa. Thoughts?

          • MentalAndBookmarked

            well the idea I think, was to protect the smaller clubs from getting raided especially at difficult times. You can just imagine the shenanigans come spring time with the richest clubs messing in the txfer market to help get over the line or even strengthen teams to their opponents disadvantage.

            As it is, Chelsea sold Mata to Utd in January 2 winters back AFTER they had already played Utd twice. So they in theory strengthened Utd without having to face that strength themselves. That sucks!

            The ideal would be to not have a winter window, you get your squad sorted out before the season and that’s what you fight with for better or worse. Competitively, that’s the most fair, otherwise you should really have 2 league competitions within a season – since you’ve changed your squad, how can it be the same league competition? but money talks.

            Personally I’d probably support a window that stayed open until say mid December (prior to the busiest period) and then closed for the rest of the season. There’s too much money in the game to stop clubs spending it (!) by restricting to one window, and the two windows just seem to unsatisfactory. It might take away some of the panic & craziness in windows too.

  • jolive

    This whole fuck up has told the world that we have a tonne of money left and can’t afford to start next term without incomings. Klopp telling the media that we had already got the people we wanted in the bag wasn’t exactly a masterstroke either. I can see us picking up scraps at the end of the window unless we bite the bullet and just get the ball rolling, just get Salah here ffs.

    • Kim Törnqvist

      Think it was unwise of Klopp to say that he knows what we’re going to get in the media. Would prefer if everyone was kept in the dark guessing in regards to transfers (fans and media included) until a signing is announced as much as humanly possible. But then again players agents just seem to love letting slip of ongoings to the media to manipulate affairs so guess that is not possible anyway.

      • Brighton Red

        makes me wonder if Klopp’s relationship with parts of the press will change now if he feels someone has revealed something said in confidence.

      • MentalAndBookmarked

        have a look at my response just above to anonymous. sorry it’s a bit long.

    • RedNeve

      Totally agree. Due to the recent debacle we’ll undoubtedly have to pay over the odds.

    • MentalAndBookmarked

      are you seriously suggesting the world doesn’t know that PL clubs have money to spend?

      • jolive

        yep

  • RedNeve

    If VVD does put in a request then it exonerates Southampton to the fans. ‘They did their best’ and all that.

    • Brighton Red

      you mean I’m not the only cynic ……………………………………………………

      • RedNeve

        No mate. There’s a few of us in ‘Conspiracy Club…’

        • Pierre Levert

          How do you join?

          • RedNeve

            2 Passport photos and a letter off your Nan…

        • 44yearsAfan

          I got a self portrait stick man and a forged nan signature school letter for the headmaster from 1981 will that get me in ??? 😆

          • RedNeve

            Absolutely 😂

          • 44yearsAfan

            Coolio im there, 😆

  • nico250gto

    Just get costa from chavs, and all will feel a bit better 🙂

    • MentalAndBookmarked

      Connnnnnnntroversial!

      • nico250gto

        Yes indeed. But still a very good asset to have in your team especially when the going gets tough.

    • 44yearsAfan

      Dunno if he could cope with hendo being in the same team, one of the few who costa backed away from, remember the stare, haa haa costa shit his pants

  • RedNeve

    That was really good. 👍

  • Stan Dinaround

    Interesting idea, and perhaps, a few seaaons from now, maybe after winning the title. We could chortle about this to eachother while patting eachother on the back for chosing the best team in the world to support.. Chances are though, we wont.. Why? Because this is so fucking Liverpoolesque.. Take a chance at something good, and drop the bloody ball just as you pull back your foot.. Instead of hitting the back of the net, you put it out for a throw in…

    Liverpool… Bless you for the never ending emotion.

    • MentalAndBookmarked

      It was a £75m ball if their local rag is to be believed. That’s a heavy ball. I’m sure I’d drop it.

      • Stan Dinaround

        Certainly wouldnt want to get it dirty..

        • MentalAndBookmarked

          “DON’T KICK IT – DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH THAT THING COSTS?????”

          • Stan Dinaround

            Thats why i still have it in the wrapper..

  • NorseDweller

    Time for van Dijk to step up and bring some player power to bear on this. All is not lost, especially at the bonkers transfer fees being cited.

    • MentalAndBookmarked

      except the dufus signed a 6 year deal! Fucking Einstein he is not.

  • Anon A Mouse

    Nice PR write up.

    A question of this situation. Liverpool stated in the statement that they’ve ended any interest in VVD. Is that a lie then if people still hold out hope that we sign VVD?

    • we are lfc fans, we always dream the impossible

    • Ash

      That will only be a possibility if VVD hands in a transfer request and we stump up more than what we prepared to offer.

    • MentalAndBookmarked

      Are you prepared to accept that Klopp having ice creams with Van Dijk on Blackpool pier wasn’t the smartest move in the world? Not to mention text messages between the pair. Like wtf Jurgen? wtf?

  • Tbone187

    Prior to all this, I read reports that SH have been looking to move away from being this feeder type club next season so this type of drama around one of their influential players was never gonna go down well.

    By reporting LFC , they certainly seem to be hell bent on moving away from this feeder image as the move certainly will shake their transfer dealings up a bit moving forward. Lets just say the move would upset a rather stable transfer approach which has worked well for them thus far.

    If I could’ve read these reports coming out of SH then why didn’t our transfer team? Had they been privy to the new approach of the SH board, they would’ve and should’ve looked at the deal from another perspective.

    With this in mind, coupled together with the negative publicity LFC have received on their transfer activities thus far…mid you, not long after receiving a ban on the Academy for tapping up, I say it’s a seriously dumb move. Whether or not we do eventually land the player.

    It’s simply poor and uninformed decision making from management at the club.

    • Redandyouknowsit

      I agree, we need to keep our nose clean for a while, what with the academy ban. If not, go about it in a way that is a bit more subtle.

    • Brighton Red

      where did you read these reports ??

      • Tbone187

        Can’t recall precisely. I go through many football articles.

    • Stan Dinaround

      UNless your Barca or Real Madrid, your a feeder club of sorts.. Everyone sells their best at times.. We have done it many.. Point is making sure you are adequately compensated and go out and spend it well.

      • Tbone187

        That’s an awfully generic perception that’s not untrue but doesn’t add to or remove anything from the point.

        If a club’s board chooses to retain their players for the next season, it would really annoy them if one of their top players were getting tapped up. Which seem to me what’s happened here.

        • Brighton Red

          it is what happened here, there’s no doubt about it ~ and I expect Messi and Neymar will be in Phil’s ear doing exactly the same thing after the Brazil v Argentina game this morning in Australia too ~ realistically you cannot stop it, Gerrard says in his book that he was approached by players from other clubs and made approaches to other players on behalf of Liverpool as well so what’s the point of a law you cannot enforce ?? it’s just a pity that the representatives from our club appear to be too stupid to make these illegal approaches with a bit more subtlety.

          • MentalAndBookmarked

            Kopp’s not blameless either.

  • Brighton Red

    presume the LFC statement trumped Saints threat to report us ~ what a pathetic way to do business these days ~ tapping up is part of the game, like diving and cheating, it would be better if it wasn’t there but it is, it goes on and everyone knows it. If the FA want to stop it they should stop it in England dressing rooms for starters.

    • MentalAndBookmarked

      we need to have a word with klopp about the term “clandestine meeting” and the trace-ability of text messages. Seem’s his English isn’t quite there yet nor his grasp of technology.

      • Brighton Red

        Yeah you may be right, I’d think Klopp would have to speak to the player to sell him his vision of the future, I’m sure Pep spoke to Bernardo Silva before he signed, it’s just the berk who told the press all about it ~ if that was Klopp then I’d be disappointed but somehow I doubt he’d be quite that naive ~ have to say I don’t know who said what to whom and when so can’t apportion blame.

  • Shaun Frost

    Seriously reactive, for sure!

  • Christian

    very good piece Mental, yeah it is just business. But an ugly one. Nice to learn Saints themselves have been tapping up throughout.
    Nice pic of Virgil btw, looks good in that red one, stylish embroidery….

  • leaking to media is a double edged sword, nobody thought soton will go full retard n complain to FA, as usual we thought they will try to extort us n sell.. anyway i still think we can still get vvd, like manav said in pods southampton has become a poisoned chalice, now ppl might hesitate to deal with them and they are left with a unhappy player n without a manager n may be forced to sell the club due to tax authorities scrutiny of their owners. interesting times ahead. hope we get a happy ending atleast in this transfer window

    • MentalAndBookmarked

      At £75m ? Can’t see it myself.

  • KeithSA

    If we get VVD seriously smart if not Dumb 🙂

    • Drewster

      I’m not sitting on the fence at all 😜

      • KeithSA

        I have a right to my opinion..if that’s OK with you:) Round 2 of hysteria about to start.

        • Drewster

          I know, I was just getting my wooden spoon ready for some shit stirring

          • Would be great to put both of you on the SA pod with me stirring! 😉

          • Drewster

            A wooden spoon for each of us

          • Could be arranged I s’pose…

    • SirLEoAnfieldHeart

      No Dutchman is worth that much. should have offered a pie and Benni Mccarthy

      • KeithSA

        Agreed especially having dealings with Onyx:)

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